Ryan J. Larsen

Research Scientist

Department of Psychology, Department of Animal Sciences, Personalized Nutrition Initiative
Email: larsen@illinois.edu


Dr. Larsen’s research uses MRI to study the physical correlates of cognitive performance, and how they relate to nutrition, cardiorespiratory fitness, and body composition. His research covers the human lifespan, including infants, children, young adults, and older adults. Dr. Larsen ’s research has employed a variety of techniques, including MR Spectroscopy, sodium MRI, relaxation parameter mapping, simultaneous EEG-fMRI, Arterial Spin Labeling, Diffusion Tensor Imaging, and Voxel-Based Morphometry. Dr. Larsen has also performed research on a variety of topics in materials science and mechanics, including rheology, stereology, materials synthesis, and the phase behavior of soft materials. Dr. Larsen holds a Ph.D. in Applied Physics from Harvard University.



Team builds better tool for assessing infant brain health
2021 Beckman Institute Research Image Contest winners announced
Beckman neuroscientists define safe protocol for EEG-fMRI imaging
Beckman MRI expertise aids research on hemodialysis therapy patients


Understanding the role of cardiorespiratory fitness and body composition in brain health


Interdisciplinary researchers develop stretchable electronic devices


Study finds brain markers of numeric, verbal and spatial reasoning abilities
Study: Brain metabolism predicts fluid intelligence in young adults

Select Publications

Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy

Larsen R. J. et al. Quantification of magnetic resonance spectroscopy data using a combined reference: Application in typically developing infants. Nmr Biomed. 2021;34(7).

Larsen, R. J. et al. Body mass and cardiorespiratory fitness are associated with altered brain metabolism. Metabolic Brain Disease. 2020; 35(6): 999-1007.

Nikolaidis, A. et al. Multivariate associations of fluid intelligence and NAA. Cerebral cortex. 2017;27:2607-2616.


Scavuzzo et al. The use of magnetic resonance spectroscopy for assessing the effect of diet on cognition. Nutritional neuroscience. 2018;21(1):1-15.

Morton S.U. et al. Maternal dietary intake of omega-3 fatty acids correlates positively with regional brain volumes in 1-month-old term infants. Cerebral Cortex. 2020;30(4):2057-2069.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging Physics

Tian L. et al. Large-area MRI-compatible epidermal electronic interfaces for prosthetic control and cognitive monitoring. Nature biomedical engineering. 2019;3(3):194-205.

Soft Matter Physics

Larsen R. J. et al. Viscoelastic properties of oxide-coated liquid metals. Journal of rheology. 2009;53(6):1305-1326.

Larsen, R. J. et al. Elasticity of dilatant particle suspensions during flow. Phys Rev E. 2010; 81:011502